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My Health Record: Ins and outs

My Health Record: Ins and outs


By now, most people will have heard about the government’s My Health Record system. It is the online summary of a person’s health information that can be accessed anywhere and at any time by themselves or their healthcare providers.

The scheme has been operating for the past six years on an opt-in basis. That is, people only had a record if they signed up for one. However, starting this year, the scheme created default accounts for every Australian unless they opted out.

The My Health Record scheme has obvious potential to improve health care outcomes. Working in the medical negligence field, we can immediately think of several cases where medical mishaps and even deaths may have been avoidable if a system like this had been in operation at the time.

But it is also important that people know what they are consenting to by having a My Health Record, who may be accessing the records and for what purposes their records can be used.

The scheme also has implications for legal practitioners. For example, have you thought about:

  • The use of My Health Record data in investigating or defending a claim?
  • What the discovery obligations are around My Health Record data?
  • Whether to subpoena My Health Record data in legal proceedings, or whether to object to production of such material?
  • Who else might access the data and what record would be made of this?

Ultimately, although the My Health Record scheme has potential to improve health care outcomes, legal practitioners will need to take the time to become familiar with the system and consider the risks and opportunities for our clients.


Amy Johnstone, Associate, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.


Amy will be speaking more about how the My Health Record may impact you and your clients at the LIV’s upcoming Personal Injury Intensive, 22 March. For more information and to register see here.

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